HMRC is warning tax credits claimants about scam or ‘phishing’ emails promising money back that are sent out by fraudsters ahead of the 31 July renewal deadline.
May 2014 has already seen a 131% increase in phishing emails compared with the same month last year say Harris & Co accountants Northampton #accountantsnorthampton
If a recipient clicks on a link to these emails, they are taken to a replica of the HMRC website and asked to provide credit or debit card details or other sensitive information such as passwords.
In addition to money being stolen from victims’ bank accounts, their personal details can be sold to criminal gangs, leading to possible identify theft.
HMRC is asking recipients to avoid clicking on links in suspicious emails or opening attachments, and to forward such emails to email@example.com then delete them.
One scam identified involves an email circulated from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ telling recipients about a 2013 tax refund report. The email appears to have been issued by ‘Tax Credit Office Preston’ and includes an attachment containing a virus.